How business confidence in Yorkshire fell last month

Business confidence in Yorkshire fell two points during July to 28 per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Steve Harris: “With the right support, and continuing cautious optimism, Yorkshire is poised to deliver a strong recovery in the coming months.”

Companies in Yorkshire reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down two points at 22 per cent. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, also down two points to 33 per cent, this gives a headline confidence reading of 28 per cent.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

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A net balance of 15 per cent of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up seven points on last month.

Steve Harris, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Yorkshire’s hospitality industry is renowned as one of the most vibrant and successful in the UK – but it has been hit hard in recent weeks, with businesses across the region forced to close and some having to turn down bookings due to staff shortages.

“It’s therefore no surprise that confidence has wavered slightly, but it’s promising to see that it remains squarely in positive territory.

“It is also encouraging to see businesses across the region maintaining their commitment to creating new jobs.

“With the right support, and continuing cautious optimism, Yorkshire is poised to deliver a strong recovery in the coming months.”

Overall UK business confidence dipped three points to 30 per cent in July but remains well above the year-to-date average of 19 per cent.

Businesses in the North East, 40 per cent, East Midlands, 38 per cent, and North West, 38 per cent, were the most optimistic overall.

In July, four regions reported an increase in confidence - the North East, up 13 points to 40 per cent, North West, up nine points to 38 per cent, East Midlands, up seven points to 38 per cent, and West Midlands, up one point to 30 per cent, while the remainder reported a drop.

Scotland, down 14 points to 28 per cent, East of England, down 11 points to 25 per cent, and Wales, down nine points to 12 per cent, reported the biggest falls in confidence but all retained an overall positive reading.

The overall number of UK firms expecting to create new jobs in the next twelve months rose one point to 18 per cent in July, the highest reading since November 2018 and the sixth consecutive month that employment expectations have risen.

Confidence fell slightly in the broad economic sectors in line with the overall economic picture.

Manufacturing and retail confidence declined for a second month from previously elevated levels.

Nevertheless, at 33 per cent for manufacturing and 32 per cent for retail, confidence remains at historically strong levels.

Construction and services sector confidence also dipped to 33 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

In the subsectors, confidence was particularly strong in hospitality and transport, reflecting the further opening of the economy, as well as in business services and finance.

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James Mitchinson